My Alarm Story – Pertti Viljanen

My Alarm Story

The first record I ever bought was the excellent Stray Cats first album. But the first single I bought was “The Stand” when I was 15. My friends Esa and Stefan and I were amazed by the power of that song and my lifelong love to the band started that day. Then came “Declaration” which still today is my favourite album and one of the best debut albums ever released. The major Swedish newspaper “Aftonbladet” had a big article about a new great band and that just made more interested.

About 1984 when we were on our way to parties we sang and shouted “Blaze of Glory” and “68 Guns” and it was so much joy listening to The Alarm. Some of my friends started to listen to a Irish band called U2 at that time but they never grew on me. Still don’t care about them.

Swedish national Television had a live broadcast from Roskilde back in 1984 and it was the first time I saw The Alarm and what a concert it was! I loved the version of “Knockin´ on heavens door”!

When “Strength” arrived I didn’t really know what to think about it. It took many listenings before it grabbed me but it’s really a great album. A very mature second album from a young band. But different from Declaration.

In 1987 when “Eye of the Hurricane” was released I had the chance to get to Stockholm to see the band but I somehow missed out. I remember reading a review in Sweden where they thought it was a decent album and that “Rain in the Summertime” was a track on U2,s level. I hated the comparisons and still do, of course.

From 1987 it became harder to find the Alarms records in Swedish record stores and news about releases. I think I bought Change in 1990 and Raw in 1992. Yes, after the Brixton break-up.

I actually didn’t know about the split until 1996-97 when I found it on the new thing called Internet. It was a shock to me but then I understood why there were no new albums for many years.

In 1999 I found Mike’s solo album “Rise” in a local store and by then it started to wake up all my Alarm-feelings again, and was a big help to follow and to read about the past and the future.

I like the new Alarm as much as the original line-up. Can’t really compare them and don’t need to. There’s too many people doing that I think.
For me it was like winning on lottery when The Alarms new line-up recorded and released new material!

In 2005 when Mike announced that cancer had struck him again it was really tough. I was so sad for Mike and Jules and the boys. And a bit for the fact that I never saw them in Sweden in the eighties. (Last visit in Sweden was probably in 1988!)
I then decided to name our baby boy, born on Valentines day in 2006,to Mikael after Mike, to his honour!

When the glad news came about Mike’s remission I decided to go to my first Gathering with my mate Kjetil, which happened to be in 2008. That weekend was just amazing. My first Gathering and my first Alarm-concert. I met so many nice people over there, in Llandudno, and I still have contact with many of them, thanks to Facebook! And Chris Warner gave us a ride from Manchester to Llandudno. Thx again mate!
And of course, I met Mike himself! What a proud moment that was. For me, of course. 😉

In December 2010 my daughter Nathalie gave a me a Christmas gift, a ticket for The Alarm’s concert in London for their 30th Anniversary Tour in 02 Islington Academy. I planned the trip so I could also see West Ham at Boleyn Ground. And thanks to Jules I got on the guest list with my mate Sami for their concert in Brighton, where my daughter lived at the moment. I could not have a better weekend. Meeting my daughter, seeing West Ham for the first time and two live concerts with the best band in the world! But they are more than that. It’s unbelievable to have the contact that many have with MPO/Jules. She got my daughter on the guest list for a concert. She’s been so kind in our mail conversations and always answered even though their schedules’ been filled!

And these days, I have ordered my tickets for Gathering 21! Going there with Sami, Kjetil and my brother Niklas! Can’t wait to get there and feel the atmosphere again and to meet up with other Alarm-fans!

Pertti Viljanen
Eskilstuna, Sweden